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PARTNERS in community





SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM Diana R. Sieger President Laurie Craft Vice President, Community Investment Ashley René Lee Vice President, Public Relations & Marketing Kate Luckert Schmid Vice President, Program Stan Vander Roest Chief Financial Officer Marilyn W. Zack Vice President, Development



Michael Rosloniec (Chair) Kathleen B. Vogelsang (Vice Chair) Christina Keller (Immediate Past Chair) Kyle D. Caldwell Clara Kilburn Thomas Kyros Emily Loeks Ana Ramirez-Saenz Richard Roane Amy Ruis Carlos Sanchez Renee Williams

Tel: 616.454.1751 Fax: 616.454.6455 Email: grfound@grfoundation.org Website: grfoundation.org

Grand Rapids Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization made up of nearly 800 funds that have been established by people over the last century to do good in our community, forever. Our community partners—donors, nonprofits, leaders, doers, and more—collaborate with us because they trust us. We stay in front of the ever-changing issues that impact our community and the organizations working to bring sustainable change. We help local philanthropists leave a lasting legacy by stewarding their assets to accomplish their goals.

PARTNERS in community is a

quarterly publication of Grand Rapids Community Foundation Contributing writers: Ashley René Lee, Heather Gill Fox, Diana R. Sieger, Amanda St. Pierre






Graphic Design: Seventh Creative


Photography: Bird + Bird Studio, Dreams by Bella Photography



Copyediting: Joan Huyser-Honig




PARTNERS in community FALL 2019 | Issue 81


PARTNERS in Impact Caring deeply for people in our community is what we do. Throughout our nearly 100-year history, we have taken seriously the critical role we play in honoring tradition while embracing new and creative ways to maximize our impact. The impact of our work shows up in a many ways—through traditional philanthropy and innovative practices. In our Fall 2018 issue of PARTNERS in community, I wrote about the launch of the Challenge Scholars Dream Fund. The fund offers financial support to projects that help students feel motivated, engaged in school and committed to good attendance. In its first year, the Dream Fund granted $147,345 to support frontline efforts in our West side schools and community. We are working alongside students, parents, teachers, school staff, community organizations and anyone who wants to help our Challenge Scholars. A committee of community members helped develop the fund and still makes funding decisions. We took a different path, listening to the many voices in our community in ways we have not done in the past. “Adaptable,” “flexible” and “pliable” are all words that describe how we can and will continue to maximize our impact. We can measure our impact in addressing the housing crisis by supporting Dwelling Place in their Harrison Park Apartments, which will add 45 affordable apartments on the burgeoning West side, which has experienced unprecedented growth. We can measure the impact of our efforts to create pathways to employment, address homelessness affecting families and children, support the Michigan Nonprofit Association to encourage participation in the 2020 census, and so much more. It isn’t just financial support that makes an impact. It is also working with our donors, community groups, businesses, various governmental entities and nonprofits to come together to seek out solutions to complex problems.

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The individual impact is important as well. Many people tell us their stories through letters and emails. Some tap me on the shoulder when I’m grocery shopping to share how much our care and support have impacted their lives. Whether our impact can be measured through metrics and outcomes or the personal stories of how a scholarship made all the difference for an individual, we are here to serve, to listen to and make a positive impact with our community.

I N N O VAT I V E G I V I N G S T R AT E G I E S Grand Rapids Community Foundation relies on donor partners to bolster resources and work to create a community where access, equity and opportunity exist for everyone who calls Kent County home. While West Michigan’s tradition of philanthropy runs deep, the new tax law offers innovative ways to give charitably, effectively and strategically. We believe these four strategies are worth your consideration before the year ends.



Because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled the standard deduction, you may benefit from bundling several years of charitable contributions into a single tax year. This innovative approach can help donors exceed the higher standard deduction in the year of the donation. One way to do this is to establish a Donor Advised Fund. DAFs have become a popular charitable giving tool and come with many benefits. In addition to the tax benefits, we have expert staff who will help you think strategically about your philanthropy in order to make the biggest impact with your charitable dollars. Unlike other DAF providers, the Community Foundation can also make an impact in the community forever. “DAFs can do good now, but their impact can be felt in perpetuity,” said Jonse Young, the Community Foundation’s director of philanthropic services. This is because many donors want to ensure a legacy of support for the community beyond their lifetime, so they direct their remaining assets to the Community Foundation’s Fund for Community Good at their death. “This ensures that philanthropic dollars are always there for our community,” she explains.

Left: Marilyn Zack, vice president of development Right: Jonse Young, director of philanthropic services



Donating stocks and mutual funds may provide you with a current income tax deduction and allow you to avoid paying tax on the unrealized gain. Shaun Shira, director of major and planned gifts at the Community Foundation, explains, “This approach has proven to be an effective strategy for individuals looking to make a greater impact with their philanthropy. In many cases, gifts of highly appreciated stock or mutual funds allow the donor(s) to make a larger gift than they normally would with cash assets.”

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If you must take a required minimum distribution from your IRA account, then you may find qualified charitable distributions a valuable tool for giving under the new tax law. QCDs appeal to donors who don’t need to rely on their full required minimum distribution and are interested in making a charitable donation. If you are 70 ½ years old or older, you may make a QCD to the Community Foundation through your IRA administrator. This will allow you to avoid income tax on the funds transferred from your IRA because the amount you donate is excluded from your taxable income.

Left: Shaun Shira, major and planned gifts director Right: Jenine Torres, development officer



A charitable gift annuity, or life income gift, is an irrevocable gift annuity contract with the Community Foundation. Through this contract, the Community Foundation agrees to pay the donor income for the rest of their life in exchange for a charitable gift of $25,000 or more. The Community Foundation will use the amount remaining in the annuity account at the donor’s death, or the end of the term, for the donor’s chosen charitable purpose. CGAs are a great option for retirement savers who want to support their charitable passions in a way that provides financial security. It’s especially attractive now, because the American Council on Gift Annuities increased annuity rates in 2018.



Our development team is here to help! We have seen many donor partners use these strategies to advance their philanthropy, and we would love to connect about your specific situation. You can reach any member of our development team at 616.454.1751.

I N V E S T I N G FO R I M PAC T Program related investments, also known as impact investments, are funding strategies that focus on generating social or environmental impact alongside financial returns. An innovative investment strategy, PRIs are low interest loans that maximize community impact and provide nonprofit partners the flexibility to think outside the box. Grand Rapids Community Foundation has been making investments like PRIs since 1976, originally in the form of noninterest bearing promissory notes to local nonprofit partners. Here’s a story of a recent PRI. INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP FOR MAXIMUM IMPACT For many, Grand Rapids is thriving. The economy is strong and opportunity seems boundless. People want to live here, and the region tops many lists of “bests,” ranging from most popular destinations for millennials and places to raise a family, to small cities to start a business and places to retire. “While this is certainly good news, for those among us who are on the economic margins or face significant barriers, the renewed vitality of our community has made life tougher, especially as it relates to the availability of housing that is affordable and safe,” said Ryan VerWys, president and CEO of Inner City Christian Federation. ICCF is a nonprofit housing corporation guided by the belief that all people deserve safe, clean and affordable housing. In 2014, they began developing a 24-unit mixed-income apartment community that would also provide commercial spaces for local entrepreneurs. The building would include 18 affordable units for low-income households, with six being set aside specifically for youth aging out of the foster care system. “We have hundreds of young people each year who face the daunting challenge of being ‘emancipated’ from the foster care system when they turn 18. They are expected to thrive on their own, often with limited income, limited support and additional vulnerabilities,” said Ryan. ICCF received an allocation of low-income tax credits, funding from the state and grants from local foundations and other groups. Due to the project’s complexity, they were short on the revenue needed to complete it. “That’s really where Grand Rapids Community Foundation came in, helping us with the program related investment to help us get to the finish line. They gave us the friendly capital with terms more generous than what we could get from a bank on the open market. It allowed us to really move this thing from a vision to reality,” said Ryan.


– RYAN VERWYS FIVE YEARS LATER “We couldn’t be happier with the results. This apartment community serves as a place that people, including youth, can call home in a city that is full of opportunity,” said Ryan. Youth who would otherwise face the risk of homelessness or be vulnerable to other threats have a place that costs just 30% of their monthly income and comes with support from the Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation and Bethany Christian Services. It’s also been a great stepping stone for young people like Tony Lamont Love, a 22-year-old student and father to a two-year-old. Tony is working to pursue his dreams of becoming a petroleum engineer and investing in real estate to “hack the code for generational wealth.” Tony grew up in a home his mother purchased through ICCF. He is preparing to take Introduction to Homeownership classes offered through ICCF to help prepare him for owning a home someday. “Overall, it’s been a good experience. It’s my first apartment. I get to be on my own. I get to have my son. I don’t have to have different people interfere with how I’m raising him,” said Tony. “The opportunity that it really created is having a place. Having a place in this world is a must.” At the end of the day, everyone needs a place to be and belong. “If we want to be a place where people have belonging and connection, we have to work together,” said Ryan. “We have to create unique partnerships. We have to try new things that might be hard to do. That’s sort of our story, that we do hard things all the time. When you’re doing hard things, it’s always easier to do them with other people. In collaboration, we can share the load, we can share the burden. I think that ultimately bears fruit in our community.”

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In 2017, the ribbon was cut on the building, and it became home for 24 households and businesses.

“We have hundreds of young people each year who face the daunting challenge of being ‘emancipated’ from the foster care system when they turn 18.”


in Progress

Thanks to the generous support and partnership of donors, our Board of Trustees recently approved $720,000 in grant dollars to the following nonprofits. We also awarded nearly $1.4 million in scholarships to 630 students this year. START GARDEN, $300,000 This grant will help Start Garden 100 create entrepreneurship opportunities in Grand Rapids, specifically focusing on people of color and women entrepreneurs. Start Garden hopes to clarify where gaps exist in the ecosystem of entrepreneurial support. They provide entrepreneurs with a small amount of money to motivate them to keep working on their idea, with the promise of additional financial and social resources.

HEART OF WEST MICHIGAN UNITED WAY, $50,000 In February 2019, a convergence of circumstances led to increased demand—and increased availability—for emergency family shelter, because the former Fulton Manor had been recently vacated. This grant will support the Fulton Manor Temporary Emergency Family Shelter, which provides safe shelter, basic needs and rehousing assistance to families with children. The new shelter is a collaborative effort, primarily with Holland Home, Family Promise, Heart of West Michigan United Way, Inner City Christian Federation, Kids Food Basket and Salvation Army.

BAXTER COMMUNITY CENTER, $50,000 For 50 years, Baxter Community Center has provided quality services and met critical needs of Baxter neighborhood residents. It is a true community center, offering everything from an event space to childcare to a marketplace. This grant supports their BAX50 campaign, which will address pressing capital improvement needs. Providing a safe, efficient environment positions them for a sustainable future and long-term community impact.

GRAND RAPIDS AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES, $150,000 GRAAMA strives to promote, preserve, collect, display and honor the lives, culture, history and accomplishments of African American and connected peoples in the greater Grand Rapids community. This grant will help them retain key people for organization expansion, market the relocation for funders and archive collections.

WESTSIDE COLLABORATIVE, $150,000 The Westside Collaborative seeks to dismantle barriers to access by amplifying the voice, power and influence of West side residents. It facilitates collaboration among West side nonprofits, schools and faith-based organizations. This grant’s purpose is to help Westside Collaborative create authentic empowerment of neighbors and families.

GODFREY-LEE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, $10,000 This grant provides financial help to inspire and unify Godfrey-Lee Public Schools students—by re-branding the schools’ identity with a mascot that is inclusive of each community member.

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ARTPRIZE PROJECT 1, $10,000 The inaugural ArtPrize Project 1 will expand upon the theme of belonging. It will generate a community conversation where individuals can express how they feel they belong or don’t belong. The project will work to engage communities with limited access to public art and cultural enrichment opportunities. This grant supports new ways to engage, challenge and enrich our community through public art and discourse.

Photos included in this issue of PARTNERS in community highlight the impact of Baxter Community Center

CENSUS 2020 UPDATE With Census Day in the U.S. less than one year away, Grand Rapids Community Foundation is supporting outreach efforts to ensure a fair and accurate count in our community in 2020. The Michigan Nonprofit Association’s Complete Count Campaign provides customized messaging for outreach to communities that are at risk of being undercounted. These communities include people of color, low-income families, renters, people living in rural areas and children under the age of five. In the 2010 census, an estimated one million children under the age of five were not counted, making them the largest undercounted age group. Ensuring all people, including young children, are counted is important because census data helps determine $675 billion in local funding for school districts and programs, such as Head Start, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and free or reduced school breakfast and lunch programs. For more information, visit becountedmi2020.com.


$1,362,40 0






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Devotion and Impact On vacation several years ago, Karen Kania and Peg McClure were talking with their travel companions, sharing the typical stories of where they were from and what they did for a living. Kay, another woman on the trip, worked as an ER nurse in Boston. She shared that she would soon be heading off on a trip to Liberia for an extended time to serve people in need. Another person in the group balked, stating he was too busy and could never do that. “Kay replied, ‘You can do something. Everyone can do something,’” Peg recalled. The sentiment stuck with Karen and Peg. It guides the couple in their philanthropy and how they share their time, talents and treasures today.

OVER 40 YEARS OF FAITH AND LOVE Karen and Peg both grew up in the Grand Rapids area. They come from similar backgrounds and value systems. They were high school teachers when they met. They both left teaching to find success in the corporate world—Karen with Amway and ADAC Plastics and Peg with H.H. Cutler and VF. They’ve been together since 1978, and this year marks their fifth wedding anniversary. They describe themselves as devout women of faith, who follow the teachings of Jesus that we are all in this together. Their faith leads them to focus much of their giving on addressing basic needs. “Without your basic needs being met, you can’t move forward. If you can’t nourish your body, you can’t nourish your spirit,” Karen said. They are avid supporters of Green Apple Initiative, formerly known as The Pantry and John Knox Food Pantry, where Karen serves on the board of directors. They believe so much in the food pantry’s mission that when it came time for the organization to launch a significant capital campaign for its new home, Karen secured nearly a quarter of the total funds needed. She did it within a week and included a major gift from her and Peg.

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Karen and Peg purchased an accessible minibus, which they donated to the Dominican Sisters at Marywood. The minibus provides transportation for Dominican Sisters who have difficulties getting out in the community as they get older. “It wasn’t something they asked for, but it has opened a whole new world for many sisters there. We enjoy seeing them have fun,” Karen said. The gift was also personal. “My sister had a disability, and I remember seeing how excited she was to go on outings. The minibus reminds me of that,” Peg said.



CREATING PLANS FOR THE LONG-TERM When it came time to create their estate plan, Karen and Peg spoke with their attorney at the time, Ben Fowler. “We don’t have children, and we knew we wanted to leave our assets to an organization that was helping people access food and safe housing. Ben challenged us to think long term. What if the organization we gave to was no longer in existence? We knew the causes we wanted to support, and he suggested we get to know Grand Rapids Community Foundation,” Peg said. Peg and Karen established a Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation, and they do much of their current giving through their DAF. They continue to grow their fund through gifts of appreciated assets. After their passing, it will be combined with a gift from their estate to create the McKania Fund for the Economically Disadvantaged at the Community Foundation. “Ultimately, we hope to alleviate hunger and ensure everyone has a place to call home,” Karen said. “We want all people to feel safe and secure,” Peg added. They like that the Community Foundation supports a variety of organizations doing this work and that it is set up to be lasting.

PLANNING IS IMPORTANT, LET US HELP Planning what will happen to your assets after your lifetime is important. Getting started is often the hardest part. We’re here to help you understand all of your options and explore creative ways to leave your mark on the community you love. Let’s talk! Reach a member of our team at 616.454.1751.

Our Work


For nearly 100 years, Grand Rapids Community Foundation has worked to listen to the community and respond to its most critical needs. This work is still at the core of what the Community Foundation does. To remain a philanthropic leader for Kent County, we are learning new ways to be responsive to community voices, including providing resources beyond grantmaking. We had a conversation with Kate Luckert Schmid, vice president of program, to learn more about the Community Foundation’s role in community leadership. WHAT DOES “BEYOND GRANTMAKING” MEAN? To reach our full potential, we must use every tool we can. That is true as individuals, as an organization and as a community. To make a significant difference towards advancing equity, Grand Rapids Community Foundation makes use of all the resources and expertise we have accumulated over time. We gratefully acknowledge that our Community Foundation’s significant financial resources help us make progress in addressing our community’s complex social issues. But financial resources fall short of supporting real solutions when provided in isolation. That is why we work to identify and provide access to a full range of resources—especially the human resources of our donors, volunteers and staff—to our partners. In response to the varying requests of our partners, we have the ability to go beyond grantmaking and advocate, provide technical assistance, convene, connect networks, amplify their voice and share learning. HOW IS THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION POSITIONED TO BUILD, SHARE AND WIELD POWER?

We continuously assess how we work and with whom we partner to create essential conditions that disrupt barriers to equity and justice for all. Because we believe listening is the most effective way for us to learn, we have begun to connect to community in ways we had never before. We have purposefully developed multiple ways to invite continuous feedback, expand conversations in community and focus on building trusted relationships. By listening and co-creating with those closest to the problems we hope to address, we can more deeply understand community tensions and find new ways to build, share and wield power. We view our approach as iterative, participatory and reflective. WHAT’S AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION IS EMBODYING THIS APPROACH? Launched in 2018, the Challenge Scholars Dream Fund was co-created with students, parents, school staff and community members. The fund supports ideas for projects in schools and in community that support student success. The Dream Fund Committee—composed of students, parents, school staff and community members—is charged with reviewing projects and allocating resources. We desire to provide access to resources for grassroots or frontline efforts that increase the number of students who are prepared for post-secondary education or training. We’ve already awarded over $147,000 to 43 community-based projects. HOW DOES THIS APPROACH HONOR THE LONGSTANDING TRADITION OF WHAT THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION DOES WHILE EMBRACING INNOVATION? The Community Foundation has long been trusted to invest in creative solutions to complex problems, connect the dots across multiple systems, spotlight innovative partners and use our expertise to build the capacity of organizations supporting our community. That tradition continues yet has further evolved and been strengthened. While we still listen to and learn from communities, we have learned to cast a wider net for partners and allies who align with our pursuit of racial, social and economic justice. We now prioritize those individual voices reflective of the people most impacted by our community’s disparities. This helps us build more trusting relationships within communities impacted by inequities. We are committed to disrupt and dismantle inequities in all forms. Engaging those most affected in defining the issues and co-creating solutions that shift power and resources is imperative for success.


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The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy heavily influenced our evolution of how we think about power. They have taught us to look at how our Community Foundation approaches three dimensions of power—building power, sharing power and wielding power. When we resource organizations led by people that reflect those most impacted by inequities, we are helping to build power in communities. When we focus on building trusted relationships within community and ensure an inclusive and transparent decision-making process in allocating resources, we are sharing power. When we take bold positions and amplify traditionally excluded voices in critical community issues, we are wielding our power.




The power of collective giving is reflected in the names you see listed here. Because of the annual support of these donors, we allocate resources that build an inclusive economy and thriving community. Named after donors who made a significant impact on Grand Rapids Community Foundation, these leadership giving levels recognize our annual donors who made gifts or payments towards a pledge between July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019 supporting the Fund(s) for Community Good. We greatly appreciate the gifts of all of our annual donors! These donors trust the Community Foundation to make grants in the areas of greatest need. Donors listed support the Grand Rapids Community Foundation annually through donations to the Fund for Community Good, Fund for Education, Fund for Engagement, Fund for Prosperity, Fund for the Environment, Fund for Health, or Fund for Neighborhoods. CURTIS WYLIE LEVEL ($2,500+ annually)

JIM CARPENTER LEVEL ($1,000-$2,499 annually)

In 1958, a significant bequest from Curtis Wylie transformed the Community Foundation, dramatically increasing our ability to support local nonprofits.

A former Trustee, advocate and enthusiastic supporter, Jim epitomized loyalty and service. He catapulted the Community Foundation’s growth and public image and was instrumental in starting the giving group “Friends” in the late 1980s.

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Anonymous (1) Vickie and Tom Bergers Bill and Jackie Bylenga Cascade Engineering The Charles J DeLanoy Family Charitable Foundation Hank and Marcia Fairchild Mr. and Mrs. Michael Gill Mark and Wendy Holtvluwer Robert and Eleanore Howieson Stephen Klotz Family Foundation Tom and Sally Kyros Barbara Marcus Bob and Marcy Roth Martin and Louise Timkovich Ms. Marilyn Titche Frank and Sharon Van Haven

Anonymous (2) Laurie Finney Beard Louis and Linda Berra Lynne Black Jim and Wendy BooydeGraaff Andrew and Janay Brower Jim and Susan Brown Mr. John C. Buchanan Anna Moore Butzner Iain and Michaele Charnley Jim and Pat Clay Tracie and Chad Coffman Tom and Jan Czerney Tom and Gale Czerwinski Norman B. De Graaf Joy DeBoer Martha and Nick Dewey Kurt and Janet Dietsch John and Penny Edison Family Foundation Jean Enright Gene and Tubie Gilmore Ken Grashuis and Lori Lockyear Mr. and Mrs. William H. Hardy, Jr. Larry and Cindy Havard Ms. Deborah Herdegen Russell J. and Barbara Hohman Family Abby Holcomb Keith and Mary Kay Hopkins Carlton and Wendy Jackson Cherry and Phil Jacobus Laura Jeltema

JPMorgan Chase Foundation Joseph and Elizabeth Junewick Carol J Karr and Kevin J Briggs Blake and Mary Krueger Christopher Barnes and Jessica Lalley Jon and Carol Muth Dan and Ann O’Keefe Peter and Carroll Perez Mr. and Mrs. Josh Pfennig Scott Pruski Daniel and Judy Rau Reagan Marketing + Design LLC Mary Zoe Remien Barbara A. Robinson Curtis and Colleen Ruppal Robert E and Marcia L Schaub Foundation Judy Subar Nick Thole and Amy Turner-Thole Scott and Amanda Thomas Sue Tiggleman Mr. Peter M. Turner Randall and Laurie Van Houten Selene Van Vleck Marvin Veneklasen Gary Walker West Michigan Tag & Label Larry and Betsy Willey Williams Group Inc. Drs. Chad and Kathy Williams Joan and Jim Zawacki Bob J. Zylstra

PATRICIA “PAT” EDISON LEVEL ($500-$999 annually)

Pat is a former trustee, who served as the first female board chair and first female executive director. She has maintained her commitment to the Foundation as a donor and dear confidant. Michele McHale-Adams and George Adams Mark and Wendy Anderson Anonymous (2) John and Janet Baab Mr. and Mrs. Joel Bair Lori J. Baker Rita D. Balczak Betsy and Jim Barton Rob and Shelly Batterbee Darlene Berghorst Rich and Debra Black William Boorstein Dianne Boozer Eric and Alice Bouwens John and Virginia Braley Mr. and Mrs. Karl E. Braunschneider Mark Breon Joan and Doug Budden Robert and Sandy Burnham Colin Chelovich and Molly Tupper Chelovich Clark Communications Tina Freese Decker and Jason Decker Barbara DeMoor and Clive Morris Ron DeWaard and Jeanne Elders DeWaard Nancy L. Douglas Paul and Celeste Doyle Ben and Susan* Emdin Loretta English Barbara and Ronald Feenstra Mary and Bill Ford Dr. Tony Foster and Mrs. Linda Nemec Foster Chuck and Julie Frayer Brad and Jeanie Friedland Linsey Gleason

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Gleason Frank and Karen Graziano Mary, Duke, Libby and Benjamin Greene Jackie Haveman and Nathan Dwiri John and Gwen Hibbard Jeff and Laura Hill John L Hornbach Jeannie Hosey and Tony Travis John and Janyce Huff Sonya Hughes and Marianne Butcher Ben Irwin Mark and Beth Johnson Mrs. Chloe Jones Tom and Margy Jones Paul and Beth Kelly Mr. and Mrs. Neil L. Kimball Douglas and Patricia Klein Diane Kroll Cris and Tom Kutzli Ray Loeschner Marcia and Chuck Logie Peter and Barbara Lundeen Patrick and Loren Maloney Dayle Maples and David Kampfschulte Ronald Marsteiner Ms. Barbara Mieras Bryant and Audrey Mitchell David and Diana Morgenstern Matthew and Stephanie Muscat Bob and Margaret Nault Gary and Peg Novosad Judge W. Baldwin and Judy Ogden Benjamin Oliver Timothy J. and Debra D. O’Rourke Dr. Theresa Osmer and Dr. Eric Graf Matt and Beth Osterhaven

*Recently Deceased

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We go to great lengths to list each donor according to their personal preference. If you wish to have your recognition name listed differently or spotted a typo in your name, please accept our apologies and let us know by calling 616.454.1751 with any changes.

Robert and Suzanne Payne John L. Peterson Larry and Jean Pinckney Martha J. Porter Dale and Sherri Remmelts Sally and Larry Robson Lisa M. Rose Penny Rosema Richard and Esther Ross David and Jerri Schroeder Shaun and Ruth Shira Mr. and Mrs. Brent Slay Ryan Slusarzyk Eric and Amy Smith Jarvis L. Spreng Craig and Cheri Stein Susan A. Stoddard Lawson and Suzanne Sutherland Tamara Sytsma and Jason R. Batts Elliot Talen Michael and Susan Taylor Wayne Titche Jenine and Jose Torres Phil and Diane Tower Caitlin and Paul Townsend Lamb Mr. and Mrs. Rodney J. Van Tol Dave and Lorrie Vander Ark Ben and Emily VerWys Phil and Kathleen Vogelsang Jeffrey S. and Janet K. Williams Loyd Winer Ms. E. Gabriel Works and Mr. John V. O’Connor Greg and Sarah Yoder Kurt and Sally Yost Bruce Young

Grand Rapids Community Foundation 185 Oakes Street SW Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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If you would like to receive PARTNERS in community in your email inbox, sign up at www.givegr.org/PARTNERS or contact us at 616.454.1751


& THAT WELCOME, AUDRA! We are pleased to introduce you to Audra Hartges, our new public relations and marketing specialist. She will join Ashley René Lee and Heather Gill Fox in developing and implementing communication strategies and tactics to connect and engage the Community Foundation’s various audiences. Audra, a former Community Foundation intern, was previously a corporate communications specialist at Steelcase. She is excited to bring her skills to an organization that closely aligns with her passion for improving the West Michigan community.

CONGRATULATIONS, DIANA AND ASHLEY! Grand City Sports honored Diana Sieger as a Hall of Fame Award Winner at their 3rd Annual City of Champions Award. The event honors exemplary youth, teens, adults and pioneers from all walks of life, bridging the gap between current and past generations of city leaders. Grand Rapids Young Professionals recognized Ashley René Lee with their Young Professional of the Year Award at their annual gala. The award recognizes young professionals from the greater Grand Rapids area who have stood out among their peers.

SEE YOU AROUND, BEN AND EMILY! After six years of service, Ben Oliver has transitioned out of his role as Challenge Scholars program officer to embark on a journey of entrepreneurship. During his time with the Community Foundation, Ben had a profound impact on the Challenge Scholars program. “Ben’s dedication to our students and families, his commitment to our community and his passion for equity have shaped our work in countless ways,” said Cris Kutzli, Challenge Scholars director. “Although we are very sad to lose him as a member of our team, his influence will be long lasting.” Emily Ambs has demonstrated enthusiastic and thoughtful leadership during her time as administrative assistant for program over the last three years, ensuring all things for grantmaking and community leadership ran smoothly. She recently accepted a position as development and events specialist with the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. “We have been incredibly fortunate to have Emily on our team,” said Kate Luckert Schmid, vice president of program. “We will certainly miss her talents, yet know she will be a great asset to our partners at the Land Conservancy of West Michigan.” Ben and Emily, thank you! We wish you well in your continued service to our community.

DONOR CELEBRATION: SAVE THE DATE! This year we will honor Eva Aguirre Cooper with the Jack Chaille Community Philanthropy Award at our annual donor celebration on Thursday, October 17, 2019. Donors received an invitation to join us.

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PARTNERS in community | Fall 2019  

Caring deeply for people in our community is what we do. Throughout our nearly 100-year history, we have taken seriously the critical role w...

PARTNERS in community | Fall 2019  

Caring deeply for people in our community is what we do. Throughout our nearly 100-year history, we have taken seriously the critical role w...